We recently connected with Kay Ferguson and have shared our conversation below.
Kay, thanks for joining us, excited to have you contributing your stories and insights. One of the most important things small businesses can do, in our view, is to serve underserved communities that are ignored by giant corporations who often are just creating mass-market, one-size-fits-all solutions. Talk to us about how you serve an underserved community.
The Beauty for the Culture Festival is so important because Black beauty and all that goes into it deserves to be celebrated! The creatives, the trendsetters, the brand founders, the executives in the industry -everything. There are so many different ways to express ourselves through makeup and it’s important we all get together and lift each other up as often as we can in an authentic way. There are people that “serve” the underserved for the wrong reasons (mainly for profit), so it’s important for us to pour into each other just for the sake of having a community. I hope people feel that love and support when they see anything related to this festival. This is truly for the people.
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers
In 2014 I realized I was going to make an impact doing something beauty related, I had just finished a paper on representation in the fashion/beauty industry and was really confused that this was even still a topic since I thought we had come such a long way as a society. But there I was, shocked at what I was finding, and it really made me question how and why we feed into an industry that literally does not even care to include us (but will gladly take our coins). So I started working in the beauty industry shortly after. First I was at a L’Oréal subsidiary, Salon Centric, working with cosmetic professionals. Then I spent sometime at Sephora, next was my first big girl job with MERIT beauty and in each of those roles I saw more and more why my festival needed to happen.
The Beauty for the Culture Festival is a space for makeup lovers, of all kinds, to express their love for Black beauty. In November 2022 the first annual festival will host Black owned beauty brands to shop from, executives in the industry to learn from and be inspired by, curated spaces to take pictures and create content, vibes, and much more. The problem in the beauty industry is that so many people from the underrepresented crowd are expected to be squeezed in to spaces, as if including us is somehow a burden and what happens as a result is everyone that deserves some spotlight doesn’t get the opportunity to shine because a quota has already been met *eye roll* enough is enough, and now BFTC is here to do its part to fix the situation.
What makes BFTC Fest different is that all types of beauty will be represented, from the wild bold looks we usually only see in magazines to the people who really only like to put on a lil gloss. This spectrum is divided into 3 “worlds”: editorial, dramatic, & soft glam. And there will be brands, creators, and vibes perfect for each world present come the day of the festival.
One thing I’m most proud of is that I started, it sounds corny but that’s one of the hardest parts. The idea of doing a festival came to me in 2018 and for a long time it was something I only talked about with a few close friends. Now I’ve registered my business, designed a logo and in the process of trademarking it, building a online community, and so many other things. But this wouldn’t be a thing if I never took that first step. And while a lot has happened since this idea was born (covid) there’s no better time than now.
Another huge accomplishment is that I hit 1 million monthly viewers on Pinterest. Still trying to figure out how to grow on TikTok and Instagram. So please follow @bfctfest and support all the wonderful and talented artists reposted on those pages. I curate the reposts into different themes to keep things exciting ;). It’s a challenge executing some of those themes but I genuinely enjoy it!
This is more than just makeup for me, it’s honestly about community, so know when you support Beauty for the Culture you’re supporting a movement.
Learning and unlearning are both critical parts of growth – can you share a story of a time when you had to unlearn a lesson?
Things will not happen in the order that you want, so stop trying to force that. Prioritize and put the most effort into the things at the top of the list but still be working on other tasks.
For example, I wanted to have a venue secured before even mentioning the idea to beauty brands. That was not realistic, I had to start working on both at the same time and just be transparent about where I was in the process.
We’d love to hear the story of how you built up your social media audience?
Building an online community takes a ton a consistency, something I still struggle with. But in all honesty if you keep posting with intention one day you’ll just see crazy growth.
Ways to post with intention:
1. Keywords/Hashtags – use ones that make sense for your business and not general ones. Instead of #makeup I use tags like #editorialblk or #avantgardeblk; more specific hashtags are likely to reach the right people quicker.
2. Plan Ahead – posting daily is not realistic unless you have posts planned for 2-6 weeks ahead. Obviously you can pivot and post things that are trending throughout but you need a foundation. I use Feed Preview, it’s free and it lets me move around the posts I’m planning so I can make sure it looks good aesthetically. There are other free apps that do that same thing so take advantage.
3. Engage – follow creators/leaders of your niche, reply to all genuine comments and DMs, and engage with other profiles. Like4Like is silly but spending the time to engage with similar people/businesses goes a long way.
4. Research – it’s super important to research the platforms you’re posting on and their algorithms, because posting the same exact way on TikTok, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Facebook, etc will not get you the results you want to see. Take time to learn each one and what kind of content people like to see and what’s being pushed out. Also stay on top of trends within your industry to make sure you’re making content for what your audience wants to hear about.